Weekly Poker Update: July 27, 2020

July 27, 2020 Text on a Black Poker Chip

We’ve been talking a lot about the World Series of Poker’s online incarnation in this space over the past few weeks. With the exception of a few little hiccups, things had been running smoothly in the United States portion of the larger event. There were some incredible stories, exciting poker, and the events largely went off without a hitch.

But that all came to a screeching halt a weekend ago. The international part of the WSOP was all set to get underway. And then, well, it didn’t.

A pair of tournaments that essentially started the GGPoker part of the World Series of Poker both had to be postponed due to a variety of technical problems. The events were scheduled to resume yesterday, with all players who were still in it allowed to come back and try to do it all over again.

To make up for all of the issues, GGPoker was offering vouchers to all those who were affected by the postponement. And it should be noted that events held throughout the week on the site were able to go off without any major problems. Once the postponed events are completed, everything will still be on schedule for this portion of the larger event.

Still, a lot of players expressed their displeasure online about the situation. Some were upset that the site blamed the difficulties, in part, on the large number of people who visited the site. That is a bit of a head-scratcher, since it makes sense that there would be big online crowds for such a prestigious event just beginning.

On top of that, GGPoker’s efforts to atone for the technical problems were also taken to task. Many players claimed that refunds would have been better, since the postponement meant that some players likely wouldn’t be able to clear their schedule to resume the action.

Obviously, this was one of the major concerns about handing out bracelets for the World Series of Poker in a strictly online format. With the postponement of the live tournament, the online action was meant to act as a replacement, or at least a stopgap just in case the regular event could eventually be held.

The hope is that this is the last of the issues that crops up and that the World Series of Poker online event can once again gain the momentum it had previously enjoyed in the last three weeks. We won’t truly know until the summer is over and the online events are completed. Will we look back at the rough weekend and see it as a little stumble during an otherwise smooth journey, or will it have been the harbinger of many problems to come?

Negreanu’s Complaints

As the guy who is the professional spokesman for GGPoker, Daniel Negreanu did a lot of apologizing early in the week for the event postponements we just told you about. But he went back on the attack later in the week during an interview with the Daily Star website.

Daniel Neqreanu WSOP 2020 Streaming Screenshot

Negreanu’s complaints are with the new breed of players and their demeanors in televised action. He longed for the days when colorful personalities roamed the tables and made for excellent television. His point seemed to be that the younger players don’t show that same kind of charisma and are instead intent on doing their business without any fanfare.

In addition, he worried that live streams of poker tournaments are no substitute for produced, televised events. While he said that watching every hand of an event that goes on for hours is fine for a hard-core enthusiast, it does nothing for the casual poker fan. Considering that the poker boom took place when television got involved (and hole-card camera technology came with it), there are some interesting points that he’s making.

But there are some counter-arguments to be made as well.

Is it the responsibility of the poker player, with big amounts of money at stake, to concern themselves with putting on a show? After all, those players might not get too many chances at winning such high stakes, so it is of paramount importance that they concentrate as fully as possible on the task at hand.

As for the point about TV, that one seems a bit more valid. But, then again, it is a vastly different television landscape than the one where poker once created such a stir. It seems highly unlikely that even a television show with high production values and enhanced drama can once again capture a large swath of the public, which is why streaming options at real money gambling websites have become so prevalent.

But you have to hand it to Negreanu for being an idea man. He isn’t content to just sit back and watch poker’s popularity dwindle on his watch. All his ideas might not be gems, but at least he offers those ideas.

Mystery Of Poker Pro’s Death Deepens

Susie Zhao, a poker pro who earned solid money from sanctioned poker tournaments and also was a fixture in cash games, was found dead in Michigan. Zhao had been missing for about a week in Michigan. Authorities on Monday confirmed that a body that they found was indeed Zhao.

The circumstances surrounding her death are a bit murky. Her body was found in a parking lot by a local resident. Officials are treating the death as a murder.

Professional Poker Player Susie Zhao

Zhao had only recently moved back from the West Coast, where she enjoyed most of her poker success, to Michigan near her family. While her career earnings were officially listed at over $220,000, including some cashes in the World Series of Poker, her earnings in cash games could have been many times greater. Police aren’t yet speculating if her murder was in any way tied to her poker career.

Zhao was only 33 years old at the time of her death. Michigan police are actively seeking out information from residents to try and help solve the case.